Virus infections, hospitalizations, deaths continue to rise in SW Virginia

Rise in infections coincides with new vaccines arriving at hospitals and health-care facilities.

After a slight dip in new COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic cases Tuesday, Virginia’s spike in Wednesday report shows 3,932 new infections with 166 of them coming in the Roanoke Valley 97 more in Montgomery County and six in Floyd County.

If there is one thing about the winter storm of snow, ice and freezing rain brings in midweek, it may keep people home and not spreading the virus around.

Another sharp uptick in cases coincides with the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines arriving.

In her weekly media briefing, Dr. Cynthia Morrow, director of the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts, said 15 percent of the total cases in her districts came in the past week, “with is really astonishing to me. Not that it’s unexpected, but nevertheless really disheartening.”

She adds (as reported in The Roanoke Times):

It doesn’t have to be this way. If everyone did what they needed to do our world would look different right now. As tired as everyone is, as exhausting as this pandemic has been, we don’t want to go into the new year in the current positions we are in. I just implore people to do the right thing. Wear your mask, wash your hands, stay physically apart. The vaccine is here. It is being given, and that is such an extraordinary Christmas gift. But it’s going to take time to get people vaccinated.

–Dr. Cynthia Morrow

I saw too many people still not wearing masks and talking face-to-face with each other in Food Lion Tuesday night as customers crowded the aisles to stock up before the storm hit.

The first shots of the vaccine arrived at medical facilities in our area and are being administered to hospital staff and health care workers.

“We are are projecting that Virginia, by the end of the month, will have enough vaccine to cover everyone in the first priority group, and that’s health care workers and long-term care residents and staff,” Dr. Morrow said. “We will get as much vaccine as possible into arms by the end of the year.”

EMS first responders are expected to get shots as more vaccine arrives next week.